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ScootView: The BenQ W20000 1080P DLP Projector

Hardware Review

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#1 of 8 OFFLINE   Scooter



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Posted November 03 2008 - 01:44 AM

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BenQ W2000 DLP Projector Features

Projector Specifications

First I want to state a few things about the company. A couple of months ago I was given a projector to review, the MP771, and I felt I was honest in it’s shortcomings for HT and, to some degree, corporate uses. I also stated what I found to be strong points for business purposes. I don’t use a star system for grading, but if I did it would have been 2.5 out of 5 stars. Now after that, one would expect that a company would be much less inclined to have me write a review a second time. However, Mia Shen from BenQ actually solicited me to use and offer my opinion on this projector. That speaks quite well for a company to be looking for an honest appraisal of their products, regardless the outcome.

Secondly when that projector was sent back and arrived at BenQ , I got 3 phone calls asking me why I sent it in. Since it was retrieved via a Call Tag, I didn’t enclose any note. Many companies would simply allow the returned product to be orphaned into some black hole of a basement department or place on some back, WAY in the back shelf. But these folks were actively seeking why I had sent it back so as to get it to the proper department or person for whatever I may have needed handled. To me that shows an attention to detail towards customer satisfaction I don’t often encounter. Kudos to the staff there.

Ok...I need to set a little premise here....

This past summer I encountered Digital Projection for the first time and have now sworn off most celluloid presentations. It was to see "WALL-E" and the first thing that knocked me over was the Disney ‘Magic Kingdom Castle" opening logo. The points on the flag poles on the spires of the turrets were so sharp, I swear I could have cut my finger on’em. I had never seen anything on a big screen that was that crisp. That being stated, when I look at a video projector for the home, that is what I want that device to aspire to recreating.

Now on to the W20000...

The first thing you notice about this projector is it’s look. The design is pretty solid looking, kinda powerful. I was out at the 6 Million Dollar home theater of Jeremy Kipnis and the Sony Digital Theater Projector he had was very similar in appearance. So this makes the W20000 sort of like a little brother to that one.

The thing that takes some time to notice is....it’s working! What I mean is this projector is silent! I have it sitting on a table right next to me, less than 2 feet away from my ears and I simply do not hear the fan at all. I had my friend, Mark Miller, come over for his take on this projector and the silence of it really impressed him. Understand that Mark deals in BIG video presentations and very expensive projectors, thus for that reason and the many years we have known one another, his opinion was important to me. When watching a scene that is dead silence leading to a big surprise, the lack of fan noise is significant!

Another neat feature is the movable lens. That is handy in case the set up one has is just a wee bit too high or low for the screen and image. The lens shifts up or down, thus allowing you to fit your screen perfectly. You can also add an anamorphic lens for other presentation possibilities. The zoom lens provides a good deal of flexibility regards placement from the screen.

I won’t get too involved in specs here as those can be found on BenQ’s website, and I don’t have any instruments for measuring stuff like that to begin with. I’ll simply give you my impression of what I saw and experienced. Sources were:

Sony SL-HF 2100 Super Betamax with B1S ability

Panasonic DMP-BD10A Blue Ray

Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD

Pioneer CLD 704 Laserdisc

Cablevision HD Tuner

Out of the box, projector was good to go! I familiarized myself with some of the features via the manual, but being typically male, I forwent most of the instructions until later. Once I found what was the best I could get for a temporary setup regards screen size, I started running material through the W20000.

First up, the BD of "How The West Was Won" , smilebox version.

WOW!!!! The source material having been lovingly restored made for perfect eye candy with this projector. Incredibly bright colors, picture sharp as hell. However, I found myself at some point comparing my impression of the transfer and such with comments I had seen about it on HTF and decided something different would work better for the purposes of evaluating the projector.

I had to wait for Iron Man to get here. Sure I had other HD material, but this flick was significant because it will be the last current movie I will ever view on celluloid. I was disappointed in how the movie looked when I saw it opening day. I hadn’t been to the movies for a bout 3 years when I went to see this and loved the flick....hated the presentation. So what better title to start the projector’s review on. I even held back on installing a new 7.1 Denon I recieved, so that the audio wouldn’t distract me from focusing on the W20000. Finally, the disc arrives here and...

WOW!!!!!!! The colors and image were astounding! I saw stuff in the picture at home that I didn’t see in the theater. No motion artifacts at all....very smooth and the projector kept pace easily with what it was expected to display. Detail was amazing.

Then next up was "Cars". Again...blown away. As much as I had seen using my Sony 400Q and the prior BenQ MP771 in the projected image from them, what was now in front of me seemed completely new. The picture could show what detail PIXAR puts into their work, right down to individual bits of rock and gravel in the tarmac of the raceway. And for a brief moment, I was able to see so clearly what I had seen when I went to see "WALL-E"...the points of the flag poles of the Magic Kingdom Castle during the preview for "Enchanted". Truly, home theater projection that is on par with the local movie house. Now I was REALLY excited over this thing. My pants looked like a pup tent!

I wanted to try some other formats so next I popped in my laserdisc of "Pocahantas" to see how LD material fared. It was sharp and bright, colors looking great. While it doesn’t match what the 5" disc formats can do, it did look the best of any time I had watched this LD. It took a bit of trial and error to get the best image size for this, given the options the W20000 offers, but I was quite pleased overall.

As for Betamax, my friend Mark and I watched my tapes of the 2nd Woodstock recorded in Beta 1S speed, off of satellite. What I found surprising was that this projector revealed flaws and limitations of the DirecTV feed I recorded. In so much as Betamax is analog and won’t introduce things digital, I could see artifacts of DirecTV’s processing I had not noticed before. Certainly not a flaw with the projector, just went to show how detailed it can be. Again, I saw color and detail I had not noticed with other devices I have owned.

Cable is cable is cable. Cablevision compresses the signal quite a bit, but when it works....it works! Football I could make out individual blades of grass. Actors pockmarks vivid as anything, and a small clump of makeup on an anchorman’s brow. Not that prior projectors didn’t offer a lot of detail, but this one was much more revealing! My neighbor, Frannie said that HD was not a TV personalities best friend! And speaking of Fran, he asked if I had any movies with stuff blowing up. So, I figured this was a good time to see up conversion from my Toshiba.

First up, "Apocalypse Now, Redux". I hadn’t even opened it up before, so it was all new to me as well. I could make out a lot of detail that I presumed would not be apparent if viewed as a standard DVD and was impressed overall. It certainly wasn’t HD quality, but looked better than it would otherwise. (I should note here that my current projector is Component in only, thus due to the HDMI police, I can’t view up converted Copy Protected material on it. So I am seeing things I hadn’t been able to prior.) One artifact I did notice was a blockiness in the scenes that showed a lot of sky. Also saw that when I watched "How The West Was Won". In fairness, I should note I noticed the same thing when at Jeremy Kipnis’ setup when he showed a scene from "Reds". So I don’t attribute it necessarily to the projector.

Next up is probably the sharpest image I have EVER seen produced in a home environ. I said to my neighbor, "You want explosions? I got yer’ explosions right here!"

The battle scene in "Matrix: Revolutions" on HD-DVD.

The clarity of the image was the finest live action mixed with CGI I have ever seen! What a presentation that made. I cranked the sound up to the point the low end was balls numbing, and combined with the image...well, I simply couldn’t create a better presentation if I had a theater at my disposal.


Last but not least, How does the detail compare with smaller LCD 1080P televisions? Sometimes there is concern that detail will be lost when using front projection. My son Morgan had bought a PS3 when I had the MP771 for review and it looked really good when firing up Metal Gear Solid 4 that came with the system. However, when he bought his own 42" 1080P LCD TV he noticed a lot of stuff that simply wasn’t visible on the MP771. I asked him to bring the PS3 here when he came to visit and tell me if he saw on the projected surface, the fine detail that he saw at his apartment. The answer is..Yes! No loss of fine, tiny detail in the game play image.

So, in closing, can I recommend this projector for you! Without question, absolutely. It’s silence, ease of use, image detail and quality, as well as features all add up to a truly theatrical experience in your home. I wish I had a decent digicam so I could give you all some idea of how the images from this thing look. Do not take my lack of photos as anything other than the fact my camera would not do justice to what the W20000 is capable of. Regardless of what I fed it, it performed well beyond what I expected. Kudos to BenQ for an outstanding product and my appreciation for giving me the opportunity to experience it.


#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted November 03 2008 - 01:57 PM

Cool review Scooter, thanks much!

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#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Scooter



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Posted November 03 2008 - 08:02 PM

Thanks Sam..it is a cool product to spend time with.

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted November 06 2008 - 12:35 AM

hey Scooter. Great review. The w20000 is a great budget projector. It is very configurable and customizable. ISF Day and Night modes can be set and if you have a calibrator with the appropriate gear and knowledge, the colors can be made to be "spot on" Rec 709 via the CCA menu system within the service menus which are different then the ISF calibrator menus.

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#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Scooter



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Posted November 06 2008 - 07:55 AM

Thanks Greg for the good word. LTNS...perhaps next summer we can do a thingie here..

I can only imagine what the picture would be witha proper ISF calibration, especially in the hands of someone like yourself.

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#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted November 06 2008 - 09:48 PM

The guys at Projector Central compared it to the JVC RS2 and actually liked it better in many ways. Especially given its price.

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#7 of 8 OFFLINE   StephenT


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Posted November 13 2008 - 06:36 AM

I got one through Gregg Loewen back in April I believe, and he calibrated it in May. I think that's right. I believe it's the first one he did. Maybe he can look those dates up to be sure. (I'm in Maryland, Gregg, if that jogs your memory.) Anyway I can say a calibrated one is spectacular. I watch DirecTV and OTA HD, Blue-ray and DVD via PS3, and play video games on an XBOX360 on it. All are stunning. I didn't find it as quiet as the reviewer. It's quieter than many other projectors sure, but not silent. However, when I'm watching something I hardly notice it unless a scene is ultra quiet. Perhaps models with a later production date are quieter. Gregg, I'll definitely be looking for an update calibration around the one year mark because I'll probably need a new bulb by then I use it so much. Off the top of my head I don't know how many hours so far, but I'll look tonight. It's a lot. Anyway, from a user with a calibrated one, I say highly recommended. The TV in my bedroom gets no use anymore.

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   George_W_K



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Posted November 17 2008 - 07:24 AM

I just got one of these this past weekend and am very pleased with the PQ. The fan noise is noticeable when nothing else is going on in the room, but it's definitely the quietest of all the projectors I've had so far, the last being a Samsung SPH-710AE which was previously the quietest. I'm waiting on a couple of video cables to see if the PQ improves when I connect my HD-DVD player and Xbox up digitally, instead of the present component connection I'm using. (Although they do look very good.) I have my PS3 connected by HDMI and it is absolutely spectacular. I'm surprised there isn't more tak about this one.

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